Pennovation Center’s 2020 accelerator ended on July 16 with a virtual version of its Pitch Day event. Now in its third year, the six-week program supports 10 startups with business development and networking.
On Pitch Day, each startup gave up a five-minute pitch in front of 80 virtual attendees and a panel of three judges: Dr. Brandi Baldwin, founder and CEO of Millennial Ventures Holdings; Holly Flanagan, managing director at Gabriel Investments; and Rick Genzer, investment director at Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
Medtech company Headway was the overall winner for its work in using technology — a hands-free pointer — to improve the way surgeons communicate with one another during minimally invasive surgery. Its prize consists of $5,000 in cash, a six-month membership to the Pennovation Center and an accounting startup package sponsored by Penn Center for Innovation Ventures partner Stephano Slack.
The Headway team is made up of four cofounders: CEO Julia Lin, mechanical engineer and product designer; Laura Ceccacci, medical device strategist; Jonah Arnheim, mechanical engineer; and Alex Qian Wan, UI/UX designer.
SOLUtion Medical won the best pitch award. The company cofounded by CEO Julia Anthony and CSO Jonathan Kiel created a simplified delivery system to ease the process of patients administering their own medicine.
Here are the other companies that completed the accelerator, with descriptions adapted from Pennovation:
- Buoyant — A telemedicine practice dedicated to helping people with migraines get continuous and personalized care
- Green Ablutions — A hair care product company on a mission to prove less plastic is fantastic with zero-waste haircare bars
- MielBar — A hair care company committed to simplifying care for curly or wavy hair using all natural ingredients
- MyGrow Design — A materials company developing innovative biomaterial-based products and ecological solutions
- Pawsitive — An app that helps you raise a healthy and happy dog
- Percepta — Software that detects shoplifting in retail stores while mitigating racial, gender and age biases
- Pression — A human-performance technology company focused on helping athletes improve performance
- Stealth.ify — An app that uses game-like features to incentivize social distancing
Because of the changes COVID-19 has forced upon professional industries, other accelerators have shifted to virtual experiences in order to adapt to a changing professional world. Hear from University City Science Center’s inaugural Launch Lane startups in a Liz Brown–run interview series about how they’ve adapted in the past few months, professionally and personally.Watch the series Michael Butler is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
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